Photo: Arizona CIO Chris Cummiskey

Chris Cummiskey, chief information officer and director of the Arizona Government Information Technology Agency is among eight individuals and organizations to be honored by the National Governors Association (NGA) for their contributions to public service at the group's upcoming Centennial Meeting in Philadelphia.

"We recognize eight individuals for their leadership and record of achievement on important and diverse state issues," said NGA Chair Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. "The nation's governors and I are grateful for their dedication to improving their states and the nation."

State Officials

Chris Cummiskey 

In 17 years of public service in the executive and legislative branches, Chris Cummiskey has been recognized for his ability to pull together divergent groups, creating a collaborative environment to seek positive solutions. Under his leadership, Arizona implemented and continues to advance Arizona's Health-e Connection Roadmap, a statewide electronic health information exchange among insurance companies, health care providers and consumers of health care. Cummiskey has also transformed government service delivery through initiatives expanding public access to information through a partnership with Google and by developing a statewide 2-1-1 system. "Chris has distinguished himself through service to Arizona," said Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. "Most often, it is Chris I call upon to inspire government innovation and manage transformation initiatives."

Lisa Webb Sharpe

Lisa Webb Sharpe, director, Michigan Department of Management and Budget -- Under the leadership of Lisa Webb Sharpe, Michigan's DMB has received 11 departmental and individual awards recognizing success in a tough Michigan economy. Webb Sharpe leads Michigan state government's central business agency and focuses on cost containment strategy, internal controls and customer service. Since her appointment, DMB has pioneered and actively promoted Buy Michigan First, spending more than 90 percent of designated contract funds with Michigan-based businesses. The program seeks to create jobs and diversify the state economy and has saved Michigan taxpayers more than $282 million. To date, Ms. Webb Sharpe has been instrumental in saving the state of Michigan $1.6 billion and in Michigan's recognition for excellence and innovation in procurement, public-private partnerships, mail services, fleet management and retirement savings. "I have observed, first hand, Lisa's commitment to serving the people of Michigan," said Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. "And it is clear to me that she deserves this prestigious award."

Dr. Veronica C. García

Dr. Veronica C. García, secretary, New Mexico Department of Education -- In November 2003 Dr. Veronica García was appointed New Mexico's first education secretary. Secretary García has worked for 35 years to revolutionize education in New Mexico. Her ability to build coalitions has resulted in the development and implementation of an accountability system and higher standards for education from early childhood to college and career readiness across New Mexico. Under her leadership, New Mexico is nationally recognized for strong standards and assessment and accountability systems. Secretary García has forged partnerships with other state agencies, tribal nations and pueblos and community representatives through advisory councils and committees for Indian Education. These partnerships have lead to breakthroughs in standards and accountability for the revitalization and preservation of native languages. "Secretary Garcia is a tireless and selfless public servant," said New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. "She has worked closely with me as we invested in classroom innovations, while holding schools accountable for improving student achievement."

Other Recipients Include:

  • William N. Lindsay, III, chairman, Colorado Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform
  • Bill Anoatubby, governor, Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma
  • A. Scott Anderson, president and CEO, Zions First National Bank, Utah
  • Artistic Production: Las Artes Arts and Education Center, South Tucson, Arizona
  • Arts Support: Beverley Taylor Sorenson, founder, Art Works for Kids, Utah

Established in 1976, the NGA Awards for Distinguished Service to State Government allow governors to bring national recognition to their states' most valuable civil servants and private citizens. The awards emphasize the commitment of state administrators and the important contributions private citizens make to their state. The awards program is administered by a selection committee comprised of three permanent representatives from the academic community, as well as designees chosen by the NGA chair and vice chair.